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1.  Comorbid diabetes and the risk of progressive chronic kidney disease in HIV-infected adults: Data from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study 
Introduction
Approximately 15% of HIV-infected individuals have comorbid diabetes. Studies suggest that HIV and diabetes have an additive effect on chronic kidney (CKD) progression; however, this observation may be confounded by differences in traditional CKD risk factors.
Methods
We studied a national cohort of HIV-infected and matched HIV-uninfected individuals who received care through the Veterans Healthcare Administration. Subjects were divided into four groups based on baseline HIV and diabetes status, and the rate of progression to an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) < 45ml/min/1.73m2 was compared using Cox-proportional hazards modeling to adjust for CKD risk factors.
Results
31,072 veterans with baseline eGFR ≥ 45ml/min/1.73m2 (10,626 with HIV only, 5,088 with diabetes only, and 1,796 with both) were followed for a median of 5 years. Mean baseline eGFR was 94ml/min/1.73m2, and 7% progressed to an eGFR < 45ml/min/1.73m2. Compared to those without HIV or diabetes, the relative rate of progression was increased in individuals with diabetes only [adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 2.48; 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.19–2.80], HIV only [HR 2.80, 95% CI 2.50–3.15], and both HIV and diabetes [HR 4.47, 95% CI 3.87–5.17].
Discussion
Compared to patients with only HIV or diabetes, patients with both diagnoses are at significantly increased risk of progressive CKD even after adjusting for traditional CKD risk factors. Future studies should evaluate the relative contribution of complex comorbidities and accompanying polypharmacy to the risk of CKD in HIV-infected individuals, and prospectively investigate the use of cART, glycemic control, and adjunctive therapy to delay CKD progression.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31825b70d9
PMCID: PMC3392432  PMID: 22592587
non-AIDS complications; HIV; chronic kidney disease; diabetes; risk factors
2.  Sex Disparities in Overall Burden of Disease Among HIV-Infected Individuals in the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2013;28(Suppl 2):577-582.
ABSTRACT
BACKGROUND
Whether sex disparities exist in overall burden of disease among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals in the Veterans Affairs healthcare system (VA) is unknown.
OBJECTIVE
To determine whether sex differences exist in overall burden of disease after 1 year of combined antiretroviral therapy (ART) among HIV-infected individuals in VA.
DESIGN
Retrospective cohort study.
PARTICIPANTS
Among patients in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study Virtual Cohort (VACS-VC), all ART-naïve HIV-infected Veterans who received VA-based HIV care between 1996 and 2009.
MAIN MEASURES
Overall burden of disease was measured using the VACS Index, an index that incorporates HIV (e.g. CD4 cell count) and non-HIV biomarkers (e.g. hemoglobin) and is highly predictive of all-cause mortality. Possible scores range from 0 to 164, although scores typically range from 0 to 50 for 80 % of patients in VACS-VC. A higher score indicates greater burden of disease (each additional five points indicates approximately 20 % increased 5-year mortality risk). ART adherence was measured using pharmacy data.
KEY RESULTS
Complete data were available for 227 women and 8,073 men. At ART initiation, compared with men, women were younger and more likely to be Black, less likely to have liver dysfunction, but more likely to have lower hemoglobin levels. Median VACS Index scores changed from ART initiation to 1 year after ART initiation: women’s scores went from 41 to 28 for women (13 point improvement) and men’s from 42 to 27 for men (15 point improvement). In multivariable regression, women had 3.6 point worse scores than men after 1 year on ART (p = 0.002); this difference decreased to 3.2 points after adjusting for adherence (p = 0.004).
CONCLUSIONS
In VA, compared to men, women experienced less improvement in overall burden of disease after 1 year of HIV treatment. Further study is needed to elucidate the modifiable factors that may explain this disparity.
doi:10.1007/s11606-013-2346-z
PMCID: PMC3695278  PMID: 23807068
women; Veterans; HIV; health care disparities; burden of illness
3.  Food Insecurity is Associated with Poor Virologic Response among HIV-Infected Patients Receiving Antiretroviral Medications 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2011;26(9):1012-1018.
ABSTRACT
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE
Food insecurity negatively impacts HIV disease outcomes in international settings. No large scale U.S. studies have investigated the association between food insecurity and severity of HIV disease or the mechanism of this possible association. The objective of this study was to examine the impact of food insecurity on HIV disease outcomes in a large cohort of HIV-infected patients receiving antiretroviral medications.
DESIGN
This is a cross-sectional study.
PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING
Participants were HIV-infected patients enrolled in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study between 2002–2008 who were receiving antiretroviral medications.
MAIN MEASUREMENTS
Participants reporting “concern about having enough food for you or your family in the past 30 days” were defined as food insecure. Using multivariable logistic regression, we explored the association between food insecurity and both low CD4 counts (<200 cells/μL) and unsuppressed HIV-1 RNA (>500 copies/mL). We then performed mediation analysis to examine whether antiretroviral adherence or body mass index mediates the observed associations.
KEY RESULTS
Among 2353 HIV-infected participants receiving antiretroviral medications, 24% reported food insecurity. In adjusted analyses, food insecure participants were more likely to have an unsuppressed HIV-1 RNA (AOR 1.37, 95% CI 1.09, 1.73) compared to food secure participants. Mediation analysis revealed that neither antiretroviral medication adherence nor body mass index contributes to the association between food insecurity and unsuppressed HIV-1 RNA. Food insecurity was not independently associated with low CD4 counts.
CONCLUSIONS
Among HIV-infected participants receiving antiretroviral medications, food insecurity is associated with unsuppressed viral load and may render treatment less effective. Longitudinal studies are needed to test the potential causal association between food insecurity, lack of virologic suppression, and additional HIV outcomes.
doi:10.1007/s11606-011-1723-8
PMCID: PMC3157515  PMID: 21573882
food insecurity; HIV; patients; antiretrovirals
4.  Validity of Diagnostic Codes and Liver-Related Laboratory Abnormalities to Identify Hepatic Decompensation Events in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study 
SUMMARY
Purpose
The absence of validated methods to identify hepatic decompensation in cohort studies has prevented a full understanding of the natural history of chronic liver diseases and impact of medications on this outcome. We determined the ability of diagnostic codes and liver-related laboratory abnormalities to identify hepatic decompensation events within the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS).
Methods
Medical records of patients with hepatic decompensation codes and/or laboratory abnormalities of liver dysfunction (total bilirubin ≥5.0 gm/dL, albumin ≤2.0 gm/dL, international normalized ratio ≥1.7) recorded one year before through six months after VACS entry were reviewed to identify decompensation events (i.e., ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, variceal hemorrhage, hepatic encephalopathy, hepatocellular carcinoma) at VACS enrollment. Positive predictive values (PPVs) of diagnostic codes, laboratory abnormalities, and their combinations for confirmed outcomes were determined.
Results
Among 137 patients with a hepatic decompensation code and 197 with a laboratory abnormality, the diagnosis was confirmed in 57 (PPV, 42%; 95% CI, 33% – 50%) and 56 (PPV, 28%; 95% CI, 22% – 35%), respectively. The combination of any code plus laboratory abnormality increased PPV (64%; 95% CI, 47% - 79%). One inpatient or ≥2 outpatient diagnostic codes for ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, or variceal hemorrhage had high PPV (91%; 95% CI, 77% – 98%) for confirmed hepatic decompensation events.
Conclusion
An algorithm of 1 inpatient or ≥2 outpatient codes for ascites, peritonitis, or variceal hemorrhage has sufficiently high PPV for hepatic decompensation to enable its use for epidemiologic research in VACS. This algorithm may be applicable to other cohorts.
doi:10.1002/pds.2148
PMCID: PMC3131229  PMID: 21626605
hepatic decompensation; end-stage liver disease; epidemiologic methods; outcomes; validation studies
5.  HIV Infection and Risk for Incident Pulmonary Diseases in the Combination Antiretroviral Therapy Era 
Rationale: In aging HIV-infected populations comorbid diseases are important determinants of morbidity and mortality. Pulmonary diseases have not been systematically assessed in the combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) era.
Objectives: To determine the incidence of pulmonary diseases in HIV-infected persons compared with HIV-uninfected persons.
Methods: We analyzed data from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study Virtual Cohort, consisting of 33,420 HIV-infected veterans and 66,840 age, sex, race and ethnicity, and site-matched HIV-uninfected veterans. Using Poisson regression, incidence rates and adjusted incidence rate ratios were calculated to determine the association of HIV with pulmonary disease. The Virtual Cohort was merged with the 1999 Veterans Large Health Survey to adjust for self-reported smoking in a nested sample (14%).
Measurements and Main Results: Incident chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, pulmonary hypertension, and pulmonary fibrosis, as well as pulmonary infections, were significantly more likely among HIV-infected patients compared with uninfected patients in adjusted analyses, although rates of asthma did not differ by HIV status. Bacterial pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were the two most common incident pulmonary diseases, whereas opportunistic pneumonias were less common. Absolute rates of most pulmonary diseases increased with age, although the relative differences between those with and without HIV infection were greatest in younger persons. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, as well as pulmonary infections, were less likely in those with lower HIV RNA levels and use of ART at baseline.
Conclusions: Pulmonary diseases among HIV-infected patients receiving care within the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in the combination ART era reflect a substantial burden of non–AIDS-defining and chronic conditions, many of which are associated with aging.
doi:10.1164/rccm.201006-0836OC
PMCID: PMC3266024  PMID: 20851926
HIV; respiratory tract diseases; lung diseases, obstructive; pneumonia; pneumonia, bacterial
7.  Cystatin C, Albuminuria, and 5-Year All-Cause Mortality in HIV-Infected Persons 
Background
Compared with controls, HIV-infected persons have a greater prevalence of kidney disease as assessed by high levels of cystatin C and albuminuria, but not as assessed by creatinine level. However, the clinical importance of elevated cystatin C and albuminuria in the HIV-infected population has not been studied.
Study Design
We conducted an observational cohort study to determine the association of kidney disease (measured by albuminuria, cystatin C, and serum creatinine) with mortality.
Setting & Participants
922 HIV-infected persons enrolled in the FRAM (Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV infection) study.
Predictor
Serum cystatin C and serum creatinine were used to estimate glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). Albuminuria was defined as a positive urine dipstick (≥1+) or a urine albumin-creatinine ratio > 30 mg/g.
Outcome
5-year mortality
Results
At baseline, reduced kidney function (eGFRSCysC <60 mL/min/1.73m2) or albuminuria was present in 28% of participants. After five years of follow-up, mortality was 48% among those with both eGFRSCysC <60 mL/min/1.73m2 and albuminuria, 23% in those with eGFRSCysC <60 mL/min/1.73m2 alone, 20% in those with albuminuria alone, and 9% in those with neither condition. After multivariable adjustment for demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, HIV-related factors, and inflammatory markers, eGFRSCysC <60 mL/min/1.73m2 and albuminuria were associated with nearly a twofold increase in mortality, whereas eGFRSCr <60 mL/min/1.73m2 did not appear to have any substantial association with mortality. Together, eGFRSCysC <60 mL/min/1.73m2 and albuminuria accounted for 17% of the population-level attributable risk for mortality.
Limitations
Vital status was unknown in 261 participants from the original cohort.
Conclusions
Kidney disease marked by albuminuria or increased cystatin C levels appears to be an important risk factor for mortality in HIV-infected individuals. A substantial proportion of this risk may be unrecognized because of the current reliance on serum creatinine to estimate kidney function in clinical practice.
doi:10.1053/j.ajkd.2010.05.019
PMCID: PMC3164880  PMID: 20709438
kidney disease; mortality; HIV infection
8.  Illicit drug use and HIV treatment outcomes in a US cohort 
AIDS (London, England)  2008;22(3):357-365.
Objective
To determine the prevalence of illicit drug use and the impact on HIV treatment.
Design
Multivariable regression of cross-sectional data from 1163 HIV-infected and 294 controls from the Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM).
Methods
An analysis of (1) prevalence of specific illicit drug use (ever, current), (2) being on HAART among those with an indication and (3) current HIV RNA and CD4 cell count among HAART users.
Results
Median age was 42 years, approximately 50% were non-Caucasian and 33% were women. Eighty-six percent of HIV-infected and 67% of controls reported ever using illicit drugs (P <0.0001); 28% of HIV-infected and 16% of controls reported current use (P = 0.0001). In adjusted models, current cocaine use and past heroin use were associated with not currently being on HAART. Among HAART users, those reporting past heroin use were as likely to have an undetectable HIV viral load as those who had never used heroin. Current and past cocaine use and current heroin use was associated with lower odds of undetectable HIV RNA. Past amphetamine use was associated with having an undetectable HIV. Similar results were seen for CD4 lymphocyte counts.
Conclusion
Illicit drug use in the US is common, although far fewer report current use than past use. Among HIV-infected patients, understanding of the type of illicit drugs used and whether drug use was in the past or ongoing is important, because of their differential effects on HIV treatment outcomes.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e3282f3cc21
PMCID: PMC3189479  PMID: 18195562
amphetamines; cocaine; heroin; HIV; street drugs; viral load
9.  Association of Upper Trunk and Visceral Adipose Tissue Volume With Insulin Resistance in Control and HIV-Infected Subjects in the FRAM Study 
Summary
Visceral obesity is associated with insulin resistance, but the association of other regional adipose depots with insulin resistance is not understood. In HIV infection, buffalo hump (upper trunk fat) is associated, but the association of upper trunk fat with insulin resistance has not been examined in controls. To determine the independent association of adipose depots other than visceral with insulin resistance, we performed a cross-sectional analysis of controls and HIV-infected subjects in the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) study, who had measurements of glucose, insulin, and adipose tissue volumes by whole-body magnetic resonance imaging. We studied 926 HIV-positive persons from 16 academic medical center clinics and trials units with demographic characteristics representative of US patients with HIV infection and 258 FRAM controls from the population-based Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study. We measured visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) volume in the legs, arms, lower trunk (back and abdomen), and upper trunk (back and chest) and assessed their association with the homeostasis model of assessment (HOMA) and HOMA >4 by stepwise multivariable analysis. The prevalence of HOMA >4 as a marker of insulin resistance was 28% among controls compared with 37% among HIV-infected subjects (P = 0.005). Among controls, those in the highest tertile of upper trunk SAT volume had an odds ratio (OR) of 9.0 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.4 to 34; P = 0.001) for having HOMA >4 compared with the lowest tertile, whereas in HIV-positive subjects, the OR was lower (OR = 2.09, 95% CI: 1.36 to 3.19; P = 0.001). Among controls, the highest tertile of VAT volume had an OR of 12.1 (95% CI: 3.2 to 46; P = 0.0002) of having HOMA >4 compared with the lowest tertile, whereas in HIV-positive subjects, the OR was 3.12 (95% CI: 2.0 to 4.8; P < 0.0001). After adjusting for VAT and upper trunk SAT, the association of other SAT depots with HOMA >4 did not reach statistical significance. Thus, VAT and upper trunk SAT are independently associated with insulin resistance in controls and in HIV-infected persons.
PMCID: PMC3164883  PMID: 18167644
buffalo hump; fat distribution; insulin resistance; lipodystrophy; visceral obesity
10.  Decreased Serum Antibody Responses to Recombinant Pneumocystis Antigens in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Current Smokers▿  
Serologic studies can provide important insights into the epidemiology and transmission of Pneumocystis jirovecii. Exposure to P. jirovecii can be assessed by serum antibody responses to recombinant antigens from the major surface glycoprotein (MsgC), although factors that influence the magnitude of the antibody response are incompletely understood. We determined the magnitudes of antibody responses to P. jirovecii in comparison to adenovirus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in HIV-infected and uninfected patients and identified predictors associated with the magnitude of the response. We performed a cross-sectional analysis using serum samples and data from 153 HIV-positive and 92 HIV-negative subjects enrolled in a feasibility study of the Veterans Aging Cohort 5 Site Study (VACS 5). Antibodies were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Independent predictors of antibody responses were determined using multivariate Tobit regression models. The results showed that serum antibody responses to P. jirovecii MsgC fragments were significantly and independently decreased in current smokers. Antibodies to P. jirovecii also tended to be lower with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), hazardous alcohol use, injection drug use, and HIV infection, although these results were not statistically significant. These results were specific to P. jirovecii and did not correlate with adenovirus. Antibody responses to RSV were in the inverse direction. Thus, current smoking was independently associated with decreased P. jirovecii antibody responses. Whether smoking exerts an immunosuppressive effect that affects the P. jirovecii antibody response, colonization, or subsequent risk for disease is unclear; prospective, longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate these findings further.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00421-10
PMCID: PMC3067379  PMID: 21191078
11.  Influence of Alternative Thresholds for Initiating HIV Treatment on Life Expectancy and Quality-Adjusted Life Expectancy: A Decision Model 
Annals of internal medicine  2008;148(3):178-185.
Background
The optimal threshold for initiating HIV treatment is unclear.
Objective
To compare different thresholds for initiating HIV treatment.
Design
We used our validated computer simulation to weigh important harms from earlier initiation of antiretroviral therapy (toxicity, side effects, and resistance accumulation) against important benefits (decreased HIV-related mortality).
Data Sources
Veterans Aging Cohort Study (5742 HIV-infected patients and 11 484 matched uninfected controls) and published reports.
Target Population
Individuals with newly diagnosed chronic HIV infection and varying viral loads (10 000, 30 000, 100 000, and 300 000 copies/mL) and ages (30, 40, and 50 years).
Time Horizon
Unlimited.
Perspective
Societal.
Intervention
Alternative thresholds for initiating antiretroviral therapy (CD4 counts of 200, 350, and 500 cells/mm3).
Outcome Measures
Life-years and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs).
Results of Base-Case Analysis
Although the simulation was biased against earlier treatment initiation because it used an upper-bound assumption for therapy-related toxicity, earlier treatment increased life expectancy and QALYs at age 30 years regardless of viral load (life expectancies with CD4 initiation thresholds of 500, 350, and 200 cells/mm3 were 18.2 years, 17.6 years, and 17.2 years, respectively, for a viral load of 10 000 copies/mL and 17.3 years, 15.9 years, and 14.5 years, respectively, for a viral load of 300 000 copies/mL), and increased life expectancies at age 40 years if viral loads were greater than 30 000 copies/mL (life expectancies were 12.5 years, 12.0 years, and 11.4 years, respectively, for a viral load of 300 000 copies/mL).
Results of Sensitivity Analysis
Findings favoring early treatment were generally robust.
Limitations
Results favoring later treatment may not be valid. The findings may not be generalizable to women.
Conclusions
This simulation suggests that earlier initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy is often favored compared with current recommendations.
PMCID: PMC3124094  PMID: 18252681
12.  IMPACT OF CIGARETTE SMOKING ON MORTALITY IN HIV-POSITIVE AND HIV-NEGATIVE VETERANS 
It is unknown whether smoking confers similar mortality risk in HIV-positive as in HIV-negative patients. We compared overall mortality stratified by HIV and smoking of 1,034 HIV-positive block-matched to 739 HIV-negative veterans, enrolled 2001–2002 in the Veterans Aging Cohort 5 Site Study. Adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRR) for mortality were calculated using Poisson regression. Mortality was significantly increased in HIV-positive veterans according to both smoking status and pack-years in unadjusted and adjusted analyses (adjusted IRR 2.31, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.53–3.49 for HIV-positive current smokers and IRR 1.32, 95% CI 0.67–2.61 for HIV-negative current smokers). Comorbid diseases were also significantly increased according to smoking status and pack-years. Current smoking is associated with poor outcomes; even lower levels of exposure appear to be detrimental in HIV-infected veterans. These findings support the need for improvements in smoking cessation and for studies of mechanisms and diseases underlying increased mortality in smokers with HIV.
doi:10.1521/aeap.2009.21.3_supp.40
PMCID: PMC3118467  PMID: 19537953
13.  Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) 
Medical care  2006;44(8 Suppl 2):S13-S24.
Background
The Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) is a study of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected and uninfected patients seen in infectious disease and general medical clinics. VACS includes the earlier 3 and 5 site studies (VACS 3 and VACS 5) as well as the ongoing 8 site study.
Objectives
We sought to provide background and context for analyses based upon VACS data, including study design and rationale as well as its basic protocol and the baseline characteristics of the enrolled sample.
Research Design
We undertook a prospectively consented multisite observational study of veterans in care with and without HIV infection.
Measures
Data were derived from patient and provider self report, telephone interviews, blood and DNA samples, focus groups, and full access to the national VA “paperless” electronic medical record system.
Results
More than 7200 veterans have been enrolled in at least one of the studies. The 8 site study (VACS) has enrolled 2979 HIV-infected and 3019 HIV-uninfected age–race–site matched comparators and has achieved stratified enrollment targets for race/ethnicity and age and 99% of its total target enrollment as of October 30, 2005. Participants in VACS are similar to other veterans receiving care within the VA. VACS participants are older and more predominantly black than those reported by the Centers for Disease Control.
Conclusions
VACS has assembled a rich, in-depth, and representative sample of veterans in care with and without HIV infection to conduct longitudinal analyses of questions concerning the association between alcohol use and related comorbid and AIDS-defining conditions.
doi:10.1097/01.mlr.0000223741.02074.66
PMCID: PMC3049942  PMID: 16849964
HIV/AIDS; alcohol; aging veterans; data management/research design
14.  Do Benefits of Earlier Antiretroviral Treatment Initiation Outweigh Harms for Individuals at Risk for Poor Adherence? 
Clinicians may defer antiretroviral treatment for patients with suboptimal adherence. We used a validated computer simulation of HIV disease progression to compare alternative treatment thresholds for patients with suboptimal adherence. Earlier treatment increased life expectancy across a wide adherence range (50%–100% of doses taken). Delaying treatment for patients with suboptimal adherence may not always be appropriate.
doi:10.1086/596768
PMCID: PMC3032571  PMID: 19210173
15.  Erectile Dysfunction Drug Receipt, Risky Sexual Behavior and Sexually Transmitted Diseases in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected Men 
BACKGROUND
Health care providers may be concerned that prescribing erectile dysfunction drugs (EDD) will contribute to risky sexual behavior.
OBJECTIVES
To identify characteristics of men who received EDD prescriptions, determine whether EDD receipt is associated with risky sexual behavior and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and determine whether these relationships vary for certain sub-groups.
DESIGN
Cross-sectional study.
PARTICIPANTS
Two thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven sexually-active, HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected men recruited from eight Veterans Health Affairs outpatient clinics. Data were obtained from participant surveys, electronic medical records, and administrative pharmacy data.
MEASURES
EDD receipt was defined as two or more prescriptions for an EDD, risky sex as having unprotected sex with a partner of serodiscordant or unknown HIV status, and STDs, according to self-report.
RESULTS
Overall, 28% of men received EDD in the previous year. Eleven percent of men reported unprotected sex with a serodiscordant/unknown partner in the past year (HIV-infected 15%, HIV-uninfected 6%, P < 0.001). Compared to men who did not receive EDD, men who received EDD were equally likely to report risky sexual behavior (11% vs. 10%, p = 0.9) and STDs (7% vs 7%, p = 0.7). In multivariate analyses, EDD receipt was not significantly associated with risky sexual behavior or STDs in the entire sample or in subgroups of substance users or men who had sex with men.
CONCLUSION
EDD receipt was common but not associated with risky sexual behavior or STDs in this sample of HIV-infected and uninfected men. However, risky sexual behaviors persist in a minority of HIV-infected men, indicating ongoing need for prevention interventions.
doi:10.1007/s11606-009-1164-9
PMCID: PMC2837496  PMID: 19921112
HIV infection; risky sexual behavior; STDs; men; phosphodiesterase inhibitors
16.  Continuous antiretroviral therapy decreases bone mineral density 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;23(12):1519-1529.
Objectives
To assess the effects of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on bone mineral density (BMD)
Design
Randomized comparison of continuous ART (viral suppression group; VS) with intermittent ART (drug conservation group; DC)
Setting
Outpatient clinics in the United States, Australia, and Spain.
Participants
Participants in the Strategies for Management of Antiretroviral Therapy Body Composition substudy.
Main outcome measures
Annual hip and spine BMD by dual-energy radiographic absorptiometry (DXA) and spine BMD by quantitative computed tomography (qCT).
Methods
Comparisons were by intention-to-treat analysis, using longitudinal models for change in BMD. Risk factors for BMD loss were evaluated.
Results
The 214 participants (median 44 years, 19% female participants, 73% on ART; median T-scores −0.5 total hip, −0.7 spine DXA, −0.9 spine qCT; 98 randomized to VS and 116 to DC) were followed for a mean 2.4 years. With continuous ART, BMD declined per year by 0.8% (hip), 0.4% (spine DXA), and 2.4% (spine qCT). BMD declined significantly less with intermittent ART. Estimated DC minus VS group differences in mean BMD change through follow-up were 1.4% [hip; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.6–2.3; P=0.002], 1.3% (spine DXA; 95% CI 0.1–2.4, P=0.03), and 3.0% (spine qCT; 95% CI 0.8–5.2, P=0.007). No consistent drug-specific association with BMD decline was found. In the parent study, 10 of 2753 participants in the VS group and two of 2720 in the DC group reported serious fractures (hazard ratio 4.9; 95% CI 1.1–22.5; P=0.04).
Conclusion
Continuous ART is associated with decline in BMD and possibly more fractures relative to intermittent, CD4 cell count-guided ART.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32832c1792
PMCID: PMC2748675  PMID: 19531929
antiretroviral therapy; bone mineral density; fracture; HIV; osteoporosis
17.  The Effect of Individual Antiretroviral Drugs on Body Composition in HIV-Infected Persons Initiating Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy 
Objectives
To examine the long-term effects of individual antiretroviral drugs on body composition among 416 persons initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Methods
In a substudy of a clinical trial of persons initiating ART, changes in body composition attributable to individual ART were examined. ART assessed were: indinavir, ritonavir, nelfinavir, efavirenz, nevirapine, stavudine (d4T), zidovudine (ZDV), lamivudine (3TC), didanosine (ddI), and abacavir (ABC). Skinfolds and circumferences were measured at baseline and every 4 months. Mid-arm, mid-thigh and waist subcutaneous tissue areas (STAs) and non-subcutaneous tissue areas (NSTAs) were calculated. Rates of change per year of exposure to each individual ART drug were determined using multivariate longitudinal regression.
Results
D4T and ZDV use were associated with losses in STA and skinfold thickness. 3TC use was associated with gains in all STAs and skinfold thickness, while ABC use was associated with an increase in waist STA. Indinavir was associated with gains in waist STA, while indinavir, efavirenz and nevirapine were associated with increases in upper back skinfolds. D4T use was also associated with increases in all NSTAs; 3TC use was associated with the greatest increase in waist NSTA.
Conclusions
In this prospective non-randomized evaluation, the NRTIs d4T and ZDV were associated with decreases in STAs, while 3TC use was associated with increased STAs and waist NSTA.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181aa1308
PMCID: PMC2745266  PMID: 19412117
18.  The Association Between the Receipt of Lipid Lowering Therapy and HIV Status Among Veterans Who Met NCEP/ATP III Criteria for the Receipt of Lipid Lowering Medication 
ABSTRACT
OBJECTIVE
To examine the association between HIV infection status and the receipt of lipid lowering therapy based on National Cholesterol Education Program/Adult Treatment Panel (NCEP/ATP III) guidelines and to assess whether HIV viral load and hepatitis C (HCV) status alters that association.
PARTICIPANTS AND DESIGN
A cross-sectional analysis of survey, laboratory, and pharmacy data from 1,577 male participants (59% HIV infected) of the Veterans Aging Cohort Five-Site Study, a prospective observational cohort of U.S. veterans with and without HIV infection.
MEASUREMENTS
Receipt of lipid lowering therapy obtained from the VA pharmacy benefits management system was the main outcome.
RESULTS
The prevalence of lipid lowering therapy among HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected veterans was 15.4% vs. 37.9%, respectively,  < 0.01. Among veterans who met NCEP/ATP III criteria for lipid lowering therapy, HIV-infected veterans had a significantly lower prevalence for the receipt of lipid lowering therapy (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 0.43, 95% confidence interval (C.I.) 0.28–0.67) as compared with HIV-uninfected veterans. Among HIV-infected veterans, log HIV viral load (adjusted OR = 0.57, 95% CI, 0.41–0.81) and HIV-HCV co-infection (adjusted OR = 0.31, 95% CI = 0.13–0.75) were negatively associated with receipt of lipid lowering therapy. Exposure to HAART was not associated with receipt of lipid lowering therapy.
CONCLUSIONS
Among those who met NCEP/ATP III criteria for lipid lowering therapy, HIV-infected veterans, particularly those with high HIV viral loads and HCV co-infection, were significantly less likely to receive lipid lowering therapy. This may be a modifiable mediator of cardiovascular disease among HIV-infected individuals.
doi:10.1007/s11606-008-0891-7
PMCID: PMC2642578  PMID: 19127386
HIV; cholesterol; hepatitis C; men; veterans; cardiovascular diseases
19.  Decreased Awareness of Current Smoking Among Health Care Providers of HIV-positive Compared to HIV-negative Veterans 
BACKGROUND
Cigarette smoking is an important risk factor for morbidity and mortality in HIV-positive patients on combination antiretroviral therapy.
OBJECTIVE
To determine whether awareness of smoking differs between HIV and non-HIV providers, and to identify factors associated with failure to recognize current smoking.
DESIGN
Observational study.
PARTICIPANTS
801 HIV-positive and 602 HIV-negative patients, 72 HIV and 71 non-HIV providers enrolled in the Veterans Aging Cohort 5 Site Study.
MEASUREMENTS
Data sources included patient and provider questionnaires; electronic medical records; and the national administrative VA database. We calculated sensitivity, specificity, and measures of agreement between patient- and provider-reported smoking, and examined factors associated with failure to recognize current smoking using logistic regression.
RESULTS
Whereas most providers were correct when they identified a patient as a current smoker (specificity ≥90%), HIV providers missed current smoking more often (sensitivity 65% for HIV vs. 82% for non-HIV). Kappa scores for current smoking were significantly lower for HIV compared to non-HIV providers (0.55 vs. 0.75, p < .001). In models adjusted for age, gender, race, and other differences, patient HIV status and provider specialty in infectious diseases were independent predictors of a provider’s failure to recognize current smoking. Comorbid illnesses, cough/dyspnea, degree of immune competence and HIV viral suppression did not impact recognition of current smoking. Only 39% of HIV providers reported confidence in their ability to influence smoking cessation compared to 62% of non-HIV providers (p = .049).
CONCLUSIONS
Interventions to increase HIV provider awareness of current smoking and skills to influence smoking cessation are needed. Efforts should also target patient populations with smoking-related comorbid diseases who would especially benefit from smoking cessation.
doi:10.1007/s11606-007-0158-8
PMCID: PMC2219870  PMID: 17503106
tobacco; detection of smoking; HIV; smoking cessation
20.  The Impact of Cigarette Smoking on Mortality, Quality of Life, and Comorbid Illness Among HIV-Positive Veterans 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2005;20(12):1142-1145.
Background
The impact of smoking on outcomes among those with HIV infection has not been determined in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
Study Objective
Determine the impact of smoking on morbidity and mortality in HIV-positive patients post-HAART.
Design
Prospective observational study.
Participants
Eight hundred and sixty-seven HIV-positive veterans enrolled in the Veterans Aging Cohort 3 Site Study.
Measurements
Clinical data were collected through patient questionnaire, International Classification of Diseases—9th edition codes, and standardized chart extraction, and laboratory and mortality data through the national VA database. Quality of life was assessed with the physical component summary (PCS) of the Short-Form 12.
Results
Current smokers had increased respiratory symptoms, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and bacterial pneumonia. In analyses adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, CD4 cell count, HIV RNA level, hemoglobin, illegal drug and alcohol use, quality of life was substantially decreased (β=−3.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] −5.3 to −1.4) and mortality was significantly increased (hazard ratio 1.99, 95% CI 1.03 to 3.86) in current smokers compared with never smokers.
Conclusions
HIV-positive patients who currently smoke have increased mortality and decreased quality of life, as well as increased respiratory symptoms, COPD, and bacterial pneumonia. These findings suggest that smoking cessation should be emphasized for HIV-infected patients.
doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.0255.x
PMCID: PMC1490270  PMID: 16423106
HIV; AIDS; smoking; mortality; health-related quality of life
21.  An Uncommon Helicobacter Isolate from Blood: Evidence of a Group of Helicobacter spp. Pathogenic in AIDS Patients 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1999;37(8):2729-2733.
An unusual Helicobacter sp. was isolated from the blood of a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patient. This organism had spiral morphology, with single amphitrichous flagella, and was negative for hippurate hydrolysis, production of urease, and reduction of nitrate. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis verified that the isolate was a species of Helicobacter, most closely related to an undescribed Helicobacter-like isolate from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and to Helicobacter westmeadii, a recently described species from Australia. Both organisms had also been isolated from the blood of HIV-infected patients. These blood isolates, along with Helicobacter cinaedi, form a cluster of closely related Helicobacter spp. that may represent an emerging group of pathogens in immunocompromised patients.
PMCID: PMC85331  PMID: 10405434
22.  Unhealthy Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use are Associated with Decreased Quality of HIV Care 
Background
HIV-infected patients with substance use experience suboptimal health outcomes, possibly to due to variations in care.
Objectives
To assess the association between substance use and the quality of HIV care (QOC) received.
Research Design
Retrospective cohort study.
Subjects
HIV-infected patients enrolled in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study.
Measures
We collected self-report substance use data and abstracted 9 HIV quality indicators (QIs) from medical records. Independent variables were unhealthy alcohol use (AUDIT-C score ≥4) and illicit drug use (self-report of stimulants, opioids, or injection drug use in past year). Main outcome was the percentage of QIs received, if eligible. We estimated associations between substance use and QOC using multivariable linear regression.
Results
The majority of the 3,410 patients were male (97.4%) and Black (67.0%) with a mean age of 49.1 years (SD 8.8). Overall, 25.8% reported unhealthy alcohol use, 22% illicit drug use, and participants received 81.5% (SD=18.9) of QIs. The mean percentage of QIs received was lower for those with unhealthy alcohol use vs. not (59.3% vs. 70.0%, p<.001) and those using illicit drugs vs. not (57.8% vs. 70.7%, p<.001). In multivariable models, unhealthy alcohol use (adjusted β −2.74; 95% CI −4.23, −1.25) and illicit drug use (adjusted β −3.51 95% CI −4.99, −2.02) remained inversely associated with the percentage of QIs received.
Conclusions
Though the overall QOC for these HIV-infected Veteran patients was high, gaps persist for those with unhealthy alcohol and illicit drug use. Interventions that address substance use in HIV-infected patients may improve the QOC received.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31826741aa
PMCID: PMC3460799  PMID: 22820808
Alcohol; Quality of Health Care; HIV; Quality Indicators; Health Care; Opioid-Related Disorders
23.  Risk of Heart Failure With Human Immunodeficiency Virus in the Absence of Prior Diagnosis of Coronary Heart Disease 
Archives of internal medicine  2011;171(8):737-743.
Background
Whether human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is a risk factor for heart failure (HF) is not clear. The presence of coronary heart disease and alcohol consumption in this population may confound this association.
Methods
To determine whether HIV infection is a risk factor for incident HF, we conducted a population-based, retrospective cohort study of HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected veterans enrolled in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study Virtual Cohort (VACS-VC) and the 1999 Large Health Study of Veteran Enrollees (LHS) from January 1, 2000, to July 31, 2007.
Results
There were 8486 participants (28.2% HIV-infected) enrolled in the VACS-VC who also participated in the 1999 LHS. During the median 7.3 years of follow-up, 286 incident HF events occurred. Age- and race/ethnicity–adjusted HF rates among HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected veterans were 7.12 (95% confidence interval [CI],6.90-7.34) and 4.82 (95% CI, 4.72-4.91) per 1000 person-years, respectively. Compared with HIV-uninfected veterans, those who were HIV infected had an increased risk ofHF (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.81; 95% CI, 1.39-2.36). This association persisted among veterans who did not have a coronary heart disease event or a diagnosis related to alcohol abuse or dependence before the incident HF event (adjusted HR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.29-2.98). Compared with HIV-uninfected veterans, those who were HIV infected with a baseline Human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) RNA level of 500 or more copies/mL had a higher risk of HF (adjusted HR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.57-3.32), while those with baseline and a recent HIV-1 RNA level less than 500 copies/mL did not (adjusted HR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.64-1.89; P< .001 for comparison between high and low HIV-1 RNA groups).
Conclusions
Our data suggest that HIV infection is a risk factor for HF. Ongoing viral replication is associated with a higher risk of developing HF.
doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.151
PMCID: PMC3687533  PMID: 21518940
24.  Validating Smoking Data From the Veteran’s Affairs Health Factors Dataset, an Electronic Data Source 
Nicotine & Tobacco Research  2011;13(12):1233-1239.
Introduction:
We assessed smoking data from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) electronic medical record (EMR) Health Factors dataset.
Methods:
To assess the validity of the EMR Health Factors smoking data, we first created an algorithm to convert text entries into a 3-category smoking variable (never, former, and current). We compared this EMR smoking variable to 2 different sources of patient self-reported smoking survey data: (a) 6,816 HIV-infected and -uninfected participants in the 8-site Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS-8) and (b) a subset of 13,689 participants from the national VACS Virtual Cohort (VACS-VC), who also completed the 1999 Large Health Study (LHS) survey. Sensitivity, specificity, and kappa statistics were used to evaluate agreement of EMR Health Factors smoking data with self-report smoking data.
Results:
For the EMR Health Factors and VACS-8 comparison of current, former, and never smoking categories, the kappa statistic was .66. For EMR Health Factors and VACS-VC/LHS comparison of smoking, the kappa statistic was .61.
Conclusions:
Based on kappa statistics, agreement between the EMR Health Factors and survey sources is substantial. Identification of current smokers nationally within the VHA can be used in future studies to track smoking status over time, to evaluate smoking interventions, and to adjust for smoking status in research. Our methodology may provide insights for other organizations seeking to use EMR data for accurate determination of smoking status.
doi:10.1093/ntr/ntr206
PMCID: PMC3223583  PMID: 21911825

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